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why did GUE , DIR take so long to adopt sidemount.

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by gearbow, Dec 12, 2015.

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  1. gearbow

    gearbow Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Blairmore, Alberta, Canada
    Just as the title says. I have heard that for years the GUE, DIR associations adamantly opposed the idea of having two separate cylinders without a manifold for cave diving (side mount). I have also heard that the dive community -Way Back- (don't know if it was GUE) opposed the doubles set up with manifold. Any long time divers remember the controversy and watch things come back full circle in regards to sidemount?
  2. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    As I understand it (and I'm not GUE, so I might be wrong....):

    1. There are issues with protocols; especially if sidemount and backmount divers were to dive in mixed teams. A good example is air-sharing. Donate from mouth is the standard. Sidemount interferes with that, as here is gas balancing between cylinders. I prefer that GUE held off on that, rather than try and muddle through with a daft manifold system like UTD did...

    2. GUE were not going to rush into anything without extensive research and trials. My assumption is that they'd want to create a cohesive and globally applicable system for sidemount, as they did for backmount.

    3. GUE didn't have the expertise, at least at IT or course design levels, so they've had to consult with subject matter experts to develop their own knowledgebase.
    Darghu likes this.
  3. KDAD

    KDAD Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Northern New Jersey
    Not a gue diver (yet):

    The strength of gue is team and standardization. Sidemount is hard to standardize.

    A backplate is a backplate is a backplate. There really isn't a whole lot of difference between backplates. The same goes for a wing. As long as it is not bungeed it's good

    At the present sidemount presents too many different configurations plus the issue with cylinder balancing and gas sharing.
  4. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    again, not GUE, but been active in sidemount for about 7 years now, cave for almost as long. With GUE, from what I understand the number one thing that has turned them off to sidemount is not being able to donate the primary regulator hose 100% of the time. This is just not possible without a HP crossover between the tanks which are expensive and impractical, especially for true sidemount exploration because it ties the bottles together. That hasn't been fixed, it has been screwed up with the UTD manifold, but the problem there is you have to constantly shut one bottle off to the manifold when you do switches which makes the gas switches actually much more difficult because you have to reach back and turn a bottle on and off instead of always having that secondary right there.

    regarding the manifold, the reason they don't condone independent doubles is the same reason, you can't donate your primary 100% of the time. The isolation manifold isn't really part of the discussion because it doesn't change much and it's your decision of whether or not the risk of that manifold valve leaking is greater than one of the tank neck o-rings, the burst discs, or three of the crossbar o-rings on the same side. To each his own, I dive independent doubles if given the choice.

    So you can argue for sidemount that you can have two long hoses, but with right handed regulators that means the long hose is cross under one of the divers which can get caught up in things, especially stage bottles since GUe hangs their bottles quite low, and it also increases the risk of pulling the regulator out of the other divers mouth because it has that much more rotational torque on the mouthpiece. Not good. Donating from the left tank only really works with left handed regulators, which mean you have to have the regulator coming straight up to your mouth. Fine, except in really nasty sidemount passaged where that hose getting caught on a rock can rip the reg out of your mouth, so you need them crossed over your neck. Again, can be worked around with non-direction regulators, only problem is the only reliable ones on the market are Poseidons. GUE has a think against upstream regulators, so the servo valve on the Jetstream and Xstream rules them out, and the Cyklon uses an IP of 165 which is much greater than any other reg on the market and as such has its own limitations.

    Figure out a way to get a pre-first stage cross over between the two tanks practically, or figure out a hose routing that works for both long hoses so they don't cross each other behind the neck or across one of the divers, and you'll make JJ a very happy person. Until then, doubles win.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  5. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    As alluded to above....
    Simply, sidemount in its set up at the time, was fundamentally against the covenants of DIR. Some in GUE started to develop SM to fit the covenants however others In GUE resisted and then the division came. A manifolded SM was born and developed under a new agency, UTD.

    GUE realized they missed the boat and developed a sidemount rig but utilizes ID doubles.

    I am one of a few on the board qualified to teach this system although I dive and teach traditional sidemount as well. There are a lot of debates on the manifold system, certainly when it was released in its earliest form many years ago. But like all equipment, it has pros and cons.

    I started tech diving as DIR was in its infancy, so when this upstart agency started preaching manifolded doubles it was an affront to the old guard that had been doing it "just fine" the old way. Over time, and a lot of discussion it's almost considered mainstream.

    I think this will be similar to manifolded SM, similar but not exact. BM and SM are uniquely there own, there will be some crossover but not entirely. The current manifold system isn't perfect but it's constantly evolving. With an open mind it's easy to see the advantages, I'm quick to point out the drawbacks as well. In the end everyone must make up their own mind to see if it's a good tool for you to use.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    tbone1004 likes this.
  6. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: NC
    JJ may not agree or be happy, but donating the primary in side mount is not an issue.

    We use a pair of 5' hoses. The left tank has the hose going up around the neck to a second stage with a bungee around the mouthpiece, like a bungee back up. If the bungee is properly adjusted it will slide over the mouthpiece and allow an OOA diver to take that second stage out of your mouth with no issues if you are breathing off that reg. You just dip your head to release the hose, like you would in a DIR configuration.

    The hose and second stage on the right hand tank comes straight up and is clipped to the right shoulder D-ring. if you're breathing it, it comes out just like any other primary reg. If you attach the bolt snap with an o-ring, you can just pull it off if you don't have the time to unclip it.

    Second stages with the inlet fitting on the right side work great in both positons and we just use standard G250s.

    Either way donating the primary is just not a problem.

    It's also a red herring. In order for a side mount diver to be OOG, he has to either empty both tanks or empty one and then have a catastrophic gas loss with the other. It takes a complete and total idiot to do that. Now...I suppose if you are diving mixed teams, a DIR diver could have a single failure AND fail to isolate and thus be totally OOG, but once again it's a very, very low probability occurrence, unless the diver is an idiot.

    For every other OOG emergency you've actually got plenty of time to set up for the donation.

    As for a regulator being pulled out of our mouth in a really nasty SM passage, I have to ask "are you scootering through it or what?" In the configuration above the left tank is around your neck and if it gets pulled out it won't go anywhere due to the bungee. It's also the at risk risk as if you let too much hose out, it can form a loop over your neck and snag something on the ceiling. However with just a small loop left on the tank under a retainer band, it's simple to just ensure it's pulled down snug. The right hand reg routes directly up from the tank so there's nothing to snag. Assuming you did manage to lose it, the bungee backup is right under your chin - just dip your head snag it with your mouth.

    Another non issue.


    One of the really old cave diving manuals I have around here has a lengthy discussion of the relative merits of:

    - single outlet doubles manifolds;
    - double outlet isolator manifolds;
    - double outlet non-isolator manifolds (like the Sherwood Selpac manifold); and
    - Independent doubles.

    The preference was given in the same order from worst to best.

    The arguments for independent doubles was (and still are), a) fewer failure points and b) with only 2 reg switches during the dive you can maintain enough gas in either tank to exit from any point in the dive if you lose all the gas in one tank - with no need to isolate and thus no risk of losing all the gas if you're in tight passage and can't isolate.

    It took a long time for cave divers to adopt the "new" isolator manifold technology and the main argument going for it was the ability to stay on the long hose primary for the entire dive - thus always having it ready for immediate donation.

    However, as noted above it's a non issue for a properly configured side mount diver. And, if that's your primary consideration in a side mount configuration, there's no problem just picking it and standardizing it.


    And as noted above, with AG's isolated Z system manifold, sidemount divers can use the same hose routing system as any other DIR diver, plumbing both SM tanks into the isolator manifold attached to the harness behind the divers neck/upper back.

    Now...it's a little complicated for my tastes, but it works if staying with that same exact hose routing and management is the primary concern.
    Dhboner and karstdvr like this.
  7. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    Larry, it's an issue if you don't have the hose behind your head. I.e. Lamar's current regulator setup where he has a left handed reg on the left side, and a right sided reg on the right and both come straight up from the tank. Keeping them behind your neck minimized the risk of the reg being pulled from your mouth when your chest is on the floor. It's a minimal issue, and most of us aren't doing really tight passages like that, but it's part of the "standardization" discussion for teams and what not which is relevant to the OP. Plan for the worst, hope for the best and all that.

    My buddies and I operate on the same ocean principal because in sidemount there shouldn't be any issues you can't figure out on your own. IF there is a situation we are prepared for it, but like you said, it takes a whole lot of sh!t to hit the fan before you actually need your buddies air unless it was operator error and you're being an idiot. My primary buddy also hates comfobite mouthpieces and Poseidon Jetstreams, already have the Jetstreams, seriously considering putting comfobites on them to give him a whole slew of reasons not to ask for air :)
  8. Jax

    Jax Deplorable American ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
    The "not invented here" syndrome?
    DA Aquamaster and kelemvor like this.
  9. Jack Hammer

    Jack Hammer Solo Diver

    Just because they dont/didn't teach it doesnt mean they are or ever were against it. Plenty of GUE divers have used sidemount, this goes back long before it was fashionable. It's a tool and when its been needed its been used.
    kensuf likes this.
  10. kensuf

    kensuf Cave Instructor

    Holy crap.

    In 1996 I played support for a deep gas exploration diver on a GUE project that was poking down sidemount leads in 300' of water. So sidemount was definitely used in GUE circles, where appropriate, for as long (and even before) the organization existed.

    The main opposition against sidemount is simple -- why do you need it? Historically, sidemount was an advanced technique used for getting into tight locations where gear removal may be necessary. Like a rebreather, it is simply a tool to be used for a specific job.

    I cannot speak for any GUE people, but I think it's safe to say that generally speaking, most people adapt to technical diving in a standard Hogarthian doubles setup easier than they do in sidemount. Additionally, a beginning cave diver does not need to be going into places where sidemount is a requirement to get there.

    As for the arguments about sidemount being self-sufficient and thus is superior to doubles, first I don't think there has ever been a fatality from a catastrophic manifold failure, and solo diving is kind of one of those things that new divers shouldn't be doing anyway (and it's not really DIR).

    Please note, I'm not a GUE certified anything.
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